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DVD Review: Firefly – “Bushwacked”

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After having been relatively disappointed with the first two episodes of Firefly, the show finally grabbed me with the episode "Bushwacked". Perhaps it's because I'm a fan of sci-fi thrillers like Alien and The X-Files, but I enjoyed this episode.

The Serenity encounters a derelict transport ship, and the crew becomes alarmed when they see a dead body come in contact with them. Book suggests that they check on the passengers. Mal agrees, but his intentions are less than noble, figuring that the ship may contain valuable supplies if it were indeed abandoned.

When Mal and company enter the ship, they discover a horrifying massacre and conclude that the passengers were attacked by Reavers, a cannibalistic, inhuman, and viciously brutal group of people who live at the very edge of the galaxy. The crew find a lone survivor and find out firsthand what happens to the few who survive a Reaver attack. Meanwhile, when an Alliance Commander boards Serenity searching for Simon and River, the siblings resort to some desperate measures to avoid being caught.

As I mentioned earlier, I liked this episode. It's not silly and light-hearted as the first two episodes. It's dark and disturbing, and full of suspense. It also piques the audience's curiosity regarding the mysterious Reavers. They were first introduced in the original pilot and at the time seemed like the sci-fi version of the boogeyman. But this episode brings concrete evidence to the audience of their existence. We don't know what they look like, but we now know what they're capable of. They seem to be a terrifying bunch — hell, even Jayne is scared of them. I look forward to more episodes with Reavers, but I hope we never get to see what they actually look like. Often times an unseen enemy or threat is far more frightening than one you can see.

Although I enjoyed this episode, overall I'm still bored with most of the characters. The only people I find interesting are Mal and Jayne. Mal seems to have the most depth as a character, while Jayne is just hilarious. I get a kick out of watching him. Simon and Inara show some promise of being more than two-dimensional characters. On the other hand if Zoe, Wash, and Kaylee disappeared I wouldn't even notice. So far, they have contributed little to the stories. River just gets on my nerves with her wannabe Rain Man routine. I know it's early in the series and the characters still need to be fleshed out a bit, but how can a viewer remain vested in a show if he or she doesn't care about the characters?

"Bushwacked" is the last episode on Disc 1. Let's see if future episodes continue to be as good as this one.

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About Toni Schwartz

  • Mattias

    It’s evident that Firefly attracts viewers of a certain kind and Kaonashi is not one of them. On my part I can get really bored with a multitude of aliens, one stranger than the other. Then one thing I love about Firefly is the total void of strange looking half humans such as Startrek, Star wars, Stargate and so on. The Firefly verse is for real only 500 years in the future. Its about normal people. I disagree that the caracters would be shallow. Stargate and Startrek fex has no deapths of caracter what so ever. What I love about Firefly is the general feel, the caracters, enviroment, culture. The boat, Serenity is like a caracter in itself and is one of the only spaceships ever that actually feels real. Its dirty, full of rusty steal and broken pieces. There are no silly sliding doors or shining allyways. Its has a very real feel. Compare that to Enterprise fex. There is nothing real about that ship at all, just plastic and weird vocabulary.
    All in all Firefly is not so much about the plot as the general feel. You just want to be a part of the crew. Part of the Firefly verse. Firefly is an experience. Not a tv-series

  • Kaonashi

    The problem I’m seeing so far with “Firefly” is that it’s no more realistic than “Star Trek” or “Star Gate”. True, those shows have freaky aliens and have a sanitized feeling to it, but “Firefly” has the same corny dialogue, unrealistic feeling, and two dimensional characters as those other science fiction shows.

  • Zoot

    Kaonashi – Try looking inwards – you’re commenting upon a CANCELLED series whose FAN base forced an immature studio to bow to release a movie – it was a silent acknowledgement of a dastardly decision to cancel a series without prejudice.

    Truth is, Whedon left fox not because Firefly fell prey to bad ratings – he left fox because firefly fell prey to dirty studio politics that was bent of killing the show.

    About Firefly.

    It’s given an even fouler boot considering that trashy Space Above and beyond was allowed to air for an even greater number of episodes than this gem!!!

    Its funny, wacky, ludicours and wonderful at the same time!!
    Hope the crazy old farts in FOX who were responsible for its axing are feeling the pinches of their counfounding decision!!

  • Zoot

    that was “With Prejudice”!!!

  • http://kymk.wordpress.com/ kym

    Hang in there until you see Out of Gas. The characters have fleshed out and that episode is possibly the best example of screen writing I have ever seen. (And Jayne’s back story makes me grin every time!)

  • Kaoanshi

    Zoot- I’m aware that there are many die-hard fans of Firefly who feel passionately about it. I was at WonderCon recently and saw it firsthand. I stick to my observations and opinions of the episodes I’ve seen so far. I don’t care about the politics behind what led to its cancellation; I’m just reviewing each episode and the show as a whole for what it is.

    kym – I look forward to that episode. Jayne is my favorite character thus far :)